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as of: 10/24/04




out of 10


Tod Browning


Wallace Ford .... Phroso
Leila Hyams .... Venus
Olga Baclanova .... Cleopatra
Roscoe Ates .... Roscoe (as Rosco Ates)
Henry Victor .... Hercules
Harry Earles .... Hans
Daisy Earles .... Frieda
Rose Dione .... Madame Tetrallini
Daisy Hilton .... Siamese Twin
Violet Hilton .... Siamese Twin
Schlitze .... Himself
Josephine Joseph .... Half-Woman, Half Man
Johnny Eck .... Half Boy
Frances O'Connor .... Armless Girl
Peter Robinson .... Human Skeleton
Olga Roderick .... Bearded Lady
Koo Koo .... Herself
Prince Randian .... The Living Torso (as Rardian)
Martha Morris .... Armless Girl
Elvira Snow .... Pinhead (as Zip)
Jenny Lee Snow .... Pinhead (as Pip)
Elizabeth Green .... Bird Girl
Angelo Rossitto .... Angeleno
Edward Brophy .... Rollo Brother
Matt McHugh .... Rollo Brother (as Mat McHugh)


This movie is a classic, and was WAAAAAY ahead of its time. It didn't get much airplay back in 1931 because it depicted real Carnival freaks, misshapen and deformed human beings. I purposely included all of the actors in this one, in order to show that these "freaks" were indeed real people with real feelings and real lives. Audiences were so disturbed that the movie was pulled and then banned for over 30 years. This ruined the career of Browning, who had been a successful silent director for many years. Browning is also known for directing Dracula. It was his success there, in fact, that allowed him to make this movie. It was MGM's attempt to cash in on this new Horror genre that Universal seemed to be so successful at. The story is as follows. Hans the Dwarf (Harry Earles) is engaged to fellow Dwarf Frieda (his real-life sister Daisy!). But there are problems. Hans is unrealistically in love with the trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), and she soon is pretending to like him so he will buy her things. The strong man Hercules (Henry Victor) has just dumped the sweet and spunky Venus (the solid Leila Hyams), and he is now having an affair with Cleopatra. Venus has moved on to have a healthy relationship with Phroso the Clown (Wallace Ford), and they and the Freaks do not like the way Hercules and Cleo are using poor little lovesick Hans. Frieda pleads with Cleo to end the charade, and accidentally lets slip that Hans has a fortune. I don't want to get into the rest of the movie too much, but just consider the Code of The Freaks: harm done to one is harm done to all. The Freaks decide that Cleo's treatment of Hans has gone far enough and prepare a proper "punishment". I love this movie, and the DVD contains an awesome 1 hour long documentary. This is a classic and should absolutely be watched by everyone. This is an early "talkie", so the acting is a little strange by today's standards. Also prepare for some German dialogue by the Dwarves, along with some less than stellar acting. In spite of some of these shortcomings, this movie is an important one in film history.

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